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Thread: Precision bubble level

  1. #11

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    Re: Precision bubble level

    All you need is one level that you can place against the back of your camera, note the position of the bubble and then place it against the front and adjust the front till the bubble is in the same place as it was against the back.

  2. #12
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Precision bubble level

    I forgot to add: in any given situation, either your bubble level or your subject will not be true/level.
    The bubble level should serve as a rough guide to get you in the ballpark.
    The rest, fine-tuning your camera back and other framing, should be done by eye.

  3. #13

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    Re: Precision bubble level

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    All you need is one level that you can place against the back of your camera, note the position of the bubble and then place it against the front and adjust the front till the bubble is in the same place as it was against the back.
    Naw. That's too easy!

  4. #14
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Precision bubble level

    Most filmholder backs don't seat the holder that precisely anyway, even when the standard is level. But nothing discussed so far even remotely resembles a precise bubble level. Even the concept of magnetic tape spoils that possibility. The only halfway decent cheap small levels I've encountered were made by Stabila. Otherwise, buy something real deal by Starrett US mfg machinist division (not their Chinese carpentry levels. The typical home center doesn't know the difference between a level and a garden rake.

  5. #15
    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Precision bubble level

    The ones on all my Toyo's seem pretty precise to me. After all, they are small, equally filled with water and respond to the slightest movement. It's gravity that determines whether on not things are in balance. I wouldn't waste money by buying a "more precise" bubble level.

    Thomas

  6. #16
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Precision bubble level

    I find bullseye levels are much faster and easier to use than vial lavels.
    They give you information in all directions rather than in a single line.

    Here's a good one from McMaster-Carr Supply Co., accurate to 30 minutes in all directions:
    https://www.mcmaster.com/#2308a37/=192j1ea

    It's 4 inches in diameter, 3/4" high, and costs $82.34.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  7. #17

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    Re: Precision bubble level

    If in doubt about your camera levels, take a decent level and check it against the camera vials when the camera is set up...

    Like I said before, high precision levels are not needed, and would be difficult/time consuming to use for general use...

    I have some Starrett high precision levels used to set up machine tool tables that the ends would only need to be raised a few thousands of an inch to send the bubble to the very ends of the vial, so this would be useless for general use...

    A decent torpedo or circular level from the hardware store is fine...

    Steve K

  8. #18
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Precision bubble level

    You're correct, Steve, but referring to things like miniature bench levels and cross-test levels. Starrett Massachusetts also makes a linear pocket level for only about thirty bucks that is quite practical for view camera use. But I personally prefer basic inclinometers if leveling is truly necessary (not many buildings are truly level or plumb, not even the newest skyscraper in SF !)

  9. #19

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    Re: Precision bubble level

    Quote Originally Posted by tgtaylor View Post
    It's gravity that determines whether on not things are in balance.
    But it depends whether the bubble level was placed correctly. If it has an inclination with the plane you are trying to level (which is the case I think with cheap levels generally placed on standards) then...

    Yours might well be precise by intention of the maker or chance but I am pretty sure the ones on mine are not.

  10. #20

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    Re: Precision bubble level

    I would use an external bubble level only for crucial shots. This thread starts with an issue I had and it has more to do with tripod legs levelling than camera levelling.
    The situation is a panoramic shot of 2 buildings done with 2 single shots by rotating the camera on the tripod (via the tripod head). On right side when I took the first shot everything was levelled. When I rotated to the left I found the camera was not levelled. Not a big issue as I could level it but it would have been better to have a more precise bubble level so everything would be level...

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